Grill with Brisket on Butcher Paper and Chopping Board

Why is my brisket stuck at 160 degrees?

The purpose of smoking brisket is to break down the collagen and connective fibers in the meat. To do this, smoke the brisket to a temperature where the collagens melt and the fibers separate.

Certain kinds of beef, such as brisket, might, however, reach a temperature where they plateau or “stall.”

What is this stall exactly?

Brisket stall is a phenomenon that happens in the middle of a smoking session.

It occurs when the temperature of the meat appears to abruptly stop and refuse to rise. As the inside of a brisket cools and the cool tries to exit, the outside of the brisket cools as well, preventing the heat from entering and keeping the cool inside. As a result, they’ll collide as the cool tries to get out, and the heat tries to get in.

It usually occurs when the internal temperature of the meat reaches between 150 and 170 degrees Fahrenheit.

As you can think, this may cause a lot of anxiety and stress among new BBQ cooks.

This is because the ideal temperature for removing brisket from the smoker is 204 degrees Fahrenheit. It gets even worse because this delay can linger for several hours, Depending on the piece of meat (size, shape, surface texture, moisture content, injection, and/or rub) and the cooker, the stall may begin at an internal temperature of 150 to 170°F (gas, charcoal, logs, pellets, airflow, water pan, and humidity), the temperature of the meat will then refuse to rise until enough moisture has evaporated to prevent evaporative cooling from counteracting the heat from your smoker.

Nothing is more annoying than bringing a group of friends over just to have them wait in a long brisket line.

How Do You Get Past This Stall While Smoking Brisket?

While it’s natural to be panicked at the first sign of problems, try not to. Your smoker is in perfect working, and nothing is wrong. Please avoid the impulse to boost the temperature of the smoker over what is required.

The most important thing you can do during the stall is waiting it out.

However, not everyone has the patience to wait for the excess moisture to evaporate. So, if you can’t wait it out, what can you do?

Wrapping the meat in a “Texas Crutch” is the most typical approach to beat a brisket stall.

The Texas Crutch entails wrapping beef in aluminum foil tightly. People also put a beverage inside the wrap, such as apple juice or even water.

Wrapping the meat in foil minimizes evaporative cooling because any moisture that escapes the flesh mixes with the liquid you applied to the wrap.

Wrapping with Aluminum Foil, Butcher Paper, or Unwrapped


In a true Texas Crutch, the meat is wrapped in aluminum foil is an impermeable barrier and effectively prevents evaporation cooking from occurring. Depending on what’s added to the wrap, you’re essentially gently braising the meat. A common issue you’ll find with aluminum foil-wrapped meats is that the trapped moisture produces soft, mushy bark.

The benefit of wrapping foil also is that it captures the fat and the juices of the meat so they can be reabsorbed once the meat is taken off the smoker to rest, creating the braisin effect.


Butcher paper works similarly to aluminum foil in that it is used to wrap the meat to prevent evaporative cooling. The difference between butcher paper and foil is that butcher paper is a porous substance that absorbs fat and water rapidly. Because butcher paper absorbs less steam, the bark doesn’t disintegrate as quickly.

Butcher paper has the advantage of being more permeable and trapping less steam, keeping the Brisket moist without making the bark soggy. You can leave the Brisket unwrapped if you desire a particularly crispy, crunchy bark, but be careful it doesn’t dry out.


You also have the people in the camp of no wrapping. All this entails is waiting for the stall to pass, which could take 1-7 hours for a brisket.

Will the Texas Crutch Brisket Method Still Give Me Crispy Bark? 

Both yes and no.

As you might expect, preserving all of that moisture in your brisket will prevent it from drying out sufficiently for that wonderful crispy bark to form. There is, however, a way out of this predicament.

Brisket should be cooked to a temperature of 204°F. If you want your brisket to have that wonderful crusty bark, remove the foil when the internal temperature reaches 185 degrees Fahrenheit.

This will give your steak ample time to finish cooking and lose some of its moisture.

Increasing the temperature of the smoker 

Another way to break the stall is to raise the temperature of the smoker, but we don’t advise doing this. 

Barbecue users are typically advised to smoke “low and slow,” which is around 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Set the smoker to 400 degrees for this step to reduce the chances of a stall. Smoke the brisket for about 2-1/2 hours, or until it reaches 165 degrees on the inside. Place the meat in a roasting pan and bake for 30 minutes at 250°F. In a few hours, the internal temperature should be around 200 degrees. Remove it from the oven and set it aside for 45 minutes before slicing it crosswise and serving.


It should be easy to get around the delay now that you know what causes the stall. We prefer either waiting it out or utilizing the butcher paper method since we love the dark, firm bark, but you should use whatever way works best for you. 

Smoked brisket is one of the most popular BBQ meats, no matter how you slice it. There’s no need to fear if the brisket stall is frustrating. Either use one of the ways outlined below to alter your smoker setup, or just wait it out. I promise, the finish is in sight, and delicious BBQ is on the way!

If you prefer moist, tender meat, follow our tried-and-true recommendations for keeping it juicy. Please send us a message here in Brisket Pro if you require any additional assistance. Tender and Juicy, Be a Brisket Pro!


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